Windows Server 2016 is Launched But NOT Generally Available Yet

Microsoft did the global launch of Windows Server 2016 at Ignite in Atlanta yesterday. But contrary to tweets about an eval edition that you can download (but is useless for production), neither Windows Server 2016 or System Center 2016 are actually generally available; they are on the October pricelists but won’t be GA until “mid October”. You won’t find WS2016 or System Center 2016 GA yet on:

  • Azure
  • MSDN
  • MVLS

So you’ll have to wait until mid-October? Why the wait? It’s obvious, if you think about the last 2 releases. What do you do after installing a new OS from media? You run Windows Update. And what got installed after deploying GA bits for WS2012 or WS2012 R2? Hundreds of GB of a monster update. Microsoft is probably hard at work on a monster cumulative update that they need to get right for the GA of WS2016. It must not be ready yet, and they aren’t 100% sure when, and that’s why the time of the GA mentioned in public is mid-October and not a specific date.

Azure Stack was previously announced for GA in mid-2017. TP2 (which has been in TAP for a while, I am lead to believe) was made public yesterday with a number of improvements.

It was a quiet launch … I think the OS was mentioned once in the keynote, and there were no demos (which are actually pretty stunning this time around). System Center 2016 was also launched. Some in the media might use this quiet launch to continue their theory that Windows Server is walking dead and being replaced by Azure. That could not be further from the truth. Microsoft very much pushed (the following session by Jason Zander)  the hybrid cloud message, powered by WS2016, saying that their unique selling point will continue for enterprises that can never move (some or all services) to a public cloud. And, of course, this is why Azure Stack has been developed and is getting a lot of attention. There are countless sessions on WS2016, System Center 2016, and Azure Stack during the week at Ignite. Don’t forget, also, that hybrid goes down to the code – the same people work on Azure and Windows Server because they are one and the same.

The cloud-cloud-cloud keynote was a call rather than a sales pitch. It’s time to start learning the cloud – your bosses and your customers want it so it’s pointless for you to fight yourself out of a job. Most of the cloud solutions they showed actually supplemented on-prem installations rather than replaced them.

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